Saying their name, it’s as if we are invoking them and then recognising that they have a power to connect to you. If it’s an Enlightened Being, they have the power to connect you to your own Awakening, the Mandala of Awakening. You could call it the ‘Samadhi of Awakening’. The Pure Lands are a special kind if samadhis created by Awakened beings for other beings to enter. So they are actually a special kind of shamatha and vipassana. Continue reading Pure Lands Part 2: Mantra and Pure Lands
First of all we need to know what a Pure Land is and what it means. Eventually we learn that the pure land is nothing other than our true nature. The pure land manifests in the heart when we realise that our true nature is our Buddha nature. So why call this a pure land? Why a place? We are Buddha nature. We are expressions of Buddha nature so why talk about it as if it were a Pure Land? Eventually it’s a matter of seeing this world we are in now as being the Pure Land. Continue reading Long Read Part 1: What is a Pure Land? And Why pray to be reborn there?
The Vipashyana aspect of the Formless Meditation practice comes in as we begin to wonder what our experience actually is in itself. We do this by wondering what is the mind, what is a thought or a feeling, what is a sensation, what is the space of awareness in which all this happens. Continue reading What is Vipashyana Meditation?
There are many other ways that we can show our appreciation and respect in the shrine room as well as in practice situations by gestures of honouring and appreciation as we encounter the sacred. One way to do this is to place gifts on your shrine. We use the Tibetan tradition that comes from India of offering seven or eight bowls of water. Continue reading What do the bowls of water on a shrine represent?
We can train ourselves to notice the impulse to fill up every moment so that there are no gaps – the disease of our age – and we could let that go sometimes. Instead, we could start programming gaps into our day. Relaxed unfocused awareness is the very ground of our being; it is that space that we both long for and are terrified of. We must be careful not to use our Dharma practice as another way to distract ourselves from this great ‘nowhereness’ that is right under our noses and that we are trying to deny. Continue reading Making space for ‘Gaps’: Are you filling up every moment of your day doing something or distracting yourself, so there are no gaps?
This power of making pranidhanas – the power of our intention and our resolve, is important for us to understand right from the start of the path because it’s is the same power we use when we decide we are going to do anything at all, such as meditate every day, or follow the path to Awakening. This power of our resolve is a power inherent to our awareness and something we have immediate access to. Continue reading Introducing the Power of Pranidhanas – the power of our wishes and intentions
To access our ever-present inner resources we need to connect to what I call the Heart Wish, a place somewhere within us that is the source of all our wishes. By this I don’t mean something we wish for; it’s not our ideas about what we think we would like, but a deep place in our being that those ideas emanate from. Continue reading Article: What is the Heart Wish?
The Buddha’s path means giving up attachment to all we are holding on to. It means giving up our cherished views about ourselves and the world. This can be as scary as death itself. It is easy to have doubts, thinking that maybe the whole idea of Enlightenment or Awakening is a pipe dream or a fantasy. Deep reflection on death, however, can help us cut through this kind of doubt. Continue reading Why Reflection on Death Is Our Dearest Friend
In a sense, we are aware all the time. We are never without awareness. Awareness is all that we are and all that we have. Experience always involves awareness. But we do not always remember to turn our attention to what we are experiencing. In order to do so, we need to keep waking up Continue reading How to Practice Daily Life Awareness
We have a booklet of Yogic Songs and at the end of each day we choose one of the songs to sing together and in this way keep our connection with the tradition of Yogic songs of realisation. As we sing them again and again we find we are learning them by heart, almost effortlessly, and they are a wonderful expression of our shared experience and culture. The words are profound and inspiring and as soon as we hear the melody somehow their meaning comes to mind. Continue reading Feature: Teaching on How to Use Yogic Songs as Dharma Practice